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503-378-6002 or Jeff.D.Manning@doj.state.or.us
About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a Consent Judgment in a case involving IC Marketing, Inc., a major independent magazine subscription agent. The Judgment was approved by the Marion County Circuit Court and settles a three-year old lawsuit by the state against the Nevada corporation which conducts its mail operations in White City, Oregon. IC Marketing does business as Publishers Services Exchange and eleven other assumed names. The Judgment admits no law violation.
Since January 1, 2000, the Department has received hundreds of complaints against IC Marketing. DOJ's investigation and prosecution of IC Marketing found instances where consumers were confused or misled about the source of the solicitations they received. In some cases consumers believed the mailing was an invoice for a previously ordered subscription. Justice also identified instances in which the company was unable to supply the ordered magazine. The Department determined that some of the complainants were not customers of IC Marketing and were prompted to complain by publishers who were in disputes with IC Marketing.
Under the terms of the Judgment, IC Marketing agrees to adopt a mechanism for timely resolution of future complaints. The company further agrees to place the following statement on the front of its mailers to augment its existing consumer disclosures: "INDEPENDENT AGENT NOT A BILL KEEP THIS PORTION FOR RECEIPT OF OFFER". The settlement also prohibits IC Marketing from soliciting consumers to buy publications the company cannot provide because the publication is no longer being published; or because the company lacks authorization from a clearinghouse, agent or publisher to sell the publication; or because the company is not authorized to sell the publication with a particular length of subscription.
"Today's settlement helps to ensure that consumers will receive clear and conspicuous information so they can make informed choices when purchasing or renewing a subscription," said Myers. "It also ensures the company will only solicit orders for publications it has authority to provide from a clearinghouse or publisher."
Additionally, the settlement resolves a lawsuit by IC Marketing against officers of the State of Oregon in Federal Court. The company agrees to comply with the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act and Oregon laws prohibiting simulated invoices. Finally, IC Marketing will pay $71,950 to the state's Consumer Protection and Education Fund.
IC Marketing is cooperating with Justice to resolve any complaint files still open.
Consumers wanting more information about consumer protection in Oregon may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503)378 4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
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